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Elise Fortier is the current poster child for transferring to the Atlantic 10, as she transferred to Fordham from Stony Brook. Fortier started at 3rd base for the Seawolves and hit .238 before came to the Bronx. Fortier bought in to Fordham softball and it has paid off, as she has been named 1st team All-Conference in 2012 at 3rd base and 2nd team All-Conference at shortstop. Fortier hit .264 with 47 hits, 6 HR, and 32 RBI in 2012 and then she absolutely exploded at the plate this season, hitting .362 with 64 hits, 61 runs scored, 20 HR, 54 RBI, and 4 steals. Perhaps even more impressive than her staggering contributions was Fortier's play at shortstop for Coach Bridget Orchard, as she was one of the top defensive shortstops in the conference and anchored the Rams' defense.
Fortier chose to play at an Atlantic 10 school and it has paid off for her game and for Fordham. In honor of Fortier and other transfers' success in the A10, here are the top reasons to transfer to an Atlantic 10 school.
Some players are so talented that they come in and start right away, but one of the ways to really measure a program and a coach is to see the player development that takes place. Fortier is an excellent examples of this, but there are also countless others. Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year Taryn Ashway went 5-9 with a 3.55 ERA her freshman year at St. Joe's, but she listened to Terri Adams and put in the work and went 25-4 with a 1.88 ERA. Another great example of this is 2009 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Carly Normandin. Normandin hit just .200 as a freshman before hitting .324 as a sophomore, followed by an All-American and conference player of the year season in 2009, which saw her hit .403 with 71 hits, 10 HR, 37 RBI, and 21 steals. Fortier, Ashway, and Normandin are just three examples of players who put in the put work and listened to the wise words of A10 coaches. These coaches know what they're talking about and if players go above and beyond the rewards can be amazing.
Whether it's on or off the field, one thing is for sure: Atlantic 10 coaches will always go to bat for their teams. These coaches have high standards for themselves, their players, and umpires. It is a true testament to how much these coaches care. High expectations and standards make everyone better and that's what these coaches strive for. They not only help develop great players, but also great people.
The Atlantic 10 is blessed and fortunate enough to have a living legend in its coaching ranks with UMass head coach Elaine Sortino. Coach Sortino is constantly improving and challenging her team to improve and every time the Minutewomen get knocked down, they end up bouncing back even stronger. No other coach in the Atlantic 10 is a NFCA Hall of Famer with well over 1,000 win. Coach Sortino has sent players off to numerous national teams and professional teams. She knows how to win and she gets the most out of her players every year. Playing for Coach Sortino will expose a player to a breadth of softball knowledge and the highest level of professionalism.
Atlantic 10 schools can be found in three of the great cities on the East Coast: New York (Fordham), Philadelphia (St. Joseph's and La Salle), and Washington D.C. (George Washington and George Mason). It is an incredible opportunity to play softball at a high level and live in one of America's great cities. In addition to developing one's game on the field, these cities provide incredible opportunities for career development. Life on the field is only one part of the college experience and cities provide incredible opportunities for growth off the field.
All universities claim to foster a sense of community and it is truly epitomized by Atlantic 10 schools, especially St. Bonaventure. St. Bonaventure has the smallest budget of any Atlantic 10 school and it is not in close proximity to any other school, but it is a truly special. The environment on and off the field in Olean, leaves players with a long lasting love for St. Bonaventure. It takes a special player to be a Bonnie and while it may not be easy, the work ethic and relationships that will be formed while playing at St. Bonaventure will last a lifetime.
Leaving A Legacy
Until 2010 (with the exception of 2004), the Atlantic 10 was essentially a one team league, as UMass dominated all facets of league play. Times have changed and while UMass is still a force, they have some fierce competition now. Bridget Orchard and Terri Adams have built incredible programs at Fordham and St. Joseph's, essentially from scratch and the best part is that they aren't satisfied yet. Fordham and St. Joseph's are continually striving to get better and they are not satisfied with the status quo. George Washington is making a name for itself under Stacey Schramm. Transfers can help build a program and leave a lasting legacy on the field. The A10 is headed in an upward trajectory, so why not build something special. A transfer can reinforce the tradition of excellence at UMass, strive to maintain that excellence at Fordham, take the program to new heights at St. Joseph's and George Washington, or establish a new culture of success at La Salle, Dayton, St. Louis, St. Bonaventure, Rhode Island, and George Mason.
Current transfers in the Atlantic 10:
Elise Fortier, Fordham
Rachel Gillen, Fordham
Emma Mendoker, UMass
Katie Kroeger, St. Louis
Ashley Olson, Rhode Island
Who will be the next to join their ranks?